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Affidavit: Definition, Examples & Types

Instructor: Jessica Mercado

I completed my BA in Criminal Justice in 2015. Currently working on my MS in Homeland Security Management.

Ever wonder what the paper is that people sign under oath, and is used as evidence? Well, here is your chance! This lesson will cover everything you need to know about an affidavit.

What is an Affidavit?

Jack has a sister who lived in New York. She recently passed and left behind a hefty sum of money, along with a house in the country. He finds out other family members are claiming that they are the closest of kin and are the rightful owner to the assets.

Jack contacts his lawyer and creates an affidavit stating that, in fact, he is the closest kin because he is the brother of the deceased.

An affidavit is a statement written under oath. Typically a magistrate or an officer are present as witnesses and the ones presenting the oath. The affidavit can be a confirmation or verification of occurrences or information.

While affidavits are used as evidence, it can only be used in trial if the affiant, the individual who made the affidavit, is not present, or if there is not enough evidence to make a case. For example, if Bob signed an affidavit describing a crime, but was not able to appear in court, the prosecution could use Bob's affidavit to take the place of him physically being in the courtroom.

In the end, Jack wins the battle for the assets because of his affidavit. What type of affidavit would this be considered? This lesson will provide the type of affidavit used in this examples, along with other commonly used affidavits.

Types of Affidavits

The following are the most common types of affidavits used.

Affidavits Regarding the Deceased

  • Affidavit of small estate

This type of affidavit is used when a close family member, such as a spouse, passes away without having a will and testament. The affiant will create this affidavit in order to finalize any estates or assets that the individual may have had.

Say Mary's husband died in a car crash, but didn't have a will on file. She would work with a lawyer and create an affidavit to ensure that all his assets and estates are taken care of.

  • Affidavit of heirship

This affidavit can be used by an individual to claim ownership over estate or assets from a deceased relative. It can explain thatyou are the heir and why you should gain ownership over whatever the relative left behind.

Say James found out his distant uncle passed and there is no other living relative claiming ownership. James decides to sign an affidavit claiming that he is the closest living relative and he deserves everything his uncle left behind.

  • Affidavit of death

This affidavit is for notification of death. This can be used to inform courts, businesses, and anyone else who may have an interest with the deceased individual. For example, say Carl died and his son Junior is his closest kin. Junior creates an affidavit to be sent to the credit card companies affiliated with his dad.

  • Affidavit of domicile

This affidavit will deal with estate sales. In the case of a deceased individual, this affidavit will be used when transferring their assets such as cash, stocks, bonds, and investments.

Say Marcia passed away. She had several investments in the stock market. The person in charge of transferring the estate creates an affidavit in order to transfer the stock out of the deceased name and to an investment bank.

Affidavits Regarding Information

  • Affidavit of residency

This affidavit is used determine where someone lives, whether or not they are deceased or alive. You might need to verify your address for considerations for voting district purposes.

  • Affidavit of name change

This affidavit is used to confirm a name change. For example, when applying for new school loans, the school and loan agency need confirmation that you had changed your name. You would send an affidavit with your old name, new name, and the reason why your name changed.

  • Affidavit of support

This affidavit is typically used in immigration process. It will state that an individual or family has the capability and desire to support an immigration while they get settled in the U.S.

For example, Honza wants to live in the U.S., but needs help finding his way around. Mary, an American citizen, may offer to allow the immigrant to live with her and help him find a job and a place to live. An affidavit will be needed to prove that Honza is being taken care of and will be contributing to society.

  • Identity theft affidavit

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